Mr. Mathews probably couldn’t believe his luck after buying that automobile for a fraction of its showroom price. A new White Steamer went for about $2,500 in 1908, and here he had paid only $300, plus giving that man Goodrich an old horse and buggy worth another $150. What kind of durn fool was Goodrich, anyway? He seemed to blame this fine motorcar for having hit that tree, then wanted to be rid of the vehicle as quickly as he could. He must be impulsive or just plain stupid, and Mathews was used to dealing with stupid, impulsive men who made bad decisions; after all, he was the City Marshal of Sebastopol. But there was one crucial detail that the marshal didn’t know. Goodrich didn’t own the car.
The details came out two weeks later. Unlike the inept con man who tried to get away with a sting at an illegal horse betting parlor at about the same time, Mr. Goodrich was a remarkably ept crook.
Goodrich borrowed the car from an Oakland doctor to “take a ride in the country,” which ended with a crash into a tree and a “broken wheel.” The auto was hauled or towed to Santa Rosa’s repair shop. When contacted about the mishap, the trusting doctor sent Goodrich a new “wheel” and money for repairs, not knowing that Goodrich had sold his automobile to the marshal for a few bucks plus a horse and buggy. And to bring his booty up to about $400, Goodrich also sold the horse and buggy before he disappeared, presumably on a train (UPDATE HERE).
TROUBLE OVER AN AUTOMOBILE
Chief Marshal Purchases a Borrowed Auto
Recently City Marshal Mathews of Sebastopol found a man who had run into a tree with a large White Steamer automobile. The man seemed very much disgusted with the machine and offered to trade the auto for a horse and buggy valued at $150 and $300 in cash, Mathews took the bargain and now Dr. Gray of Oakland claims the machine, saying he only loaned it to Goodrich to take a ride in the country.
Undersheriff Lindsay said that Gray had received a message from Goodrich to the effect that he had an accident and broken a wheel. Gray sent a new wheel and a little money to fix it with. The machine is in the Santa Rosa Cycle Company’s large garage on B street, where a bill for about $60 for repairs stands against it. Goodrich sold the horse and buggy to Mr. Benepe of Sebastopol and has not been seen since.
The accident, which occurred about two weeks ago, was mentioned in the papers at the time. No warrant for the rest of Goodrich has been issued.– Santa Rosa Republican, June 5, 1908